Tips for coping with difficult conversations | Care UK

You are here

  • Tips for coping with difficult conversations
  • Tips for coping with difficult conversations

Tips for coping with difficult conversations

Try not to take any changes in behaviour personally

Your loved one can’t help the way they are behaving so you certainly can’t either.

Try not to overreact

Anger might seem really extreme to you but it’s probably just your loved one trying to make their point physically, as they can no longer express themselves easily in words. A banged table might just be a way of showing slight impatience or frustration.

Stay calm

This isn’t the time to try and convince your loved one that you are a close relative; that they are imagining things; that they are unwell. It’s time to listen to them; to look them in the eyes; to ask them closed questions to understand their concerns; to lead them to a quiet place; to hold their hands; to speak slowly and softly; to nod as they speak; to take their complaints seriously, even if they have no logic; to give them a task to do to distract them from their worries. Do whatever you can to reassure your loved one that everything is alright.

Validate their feelings

Validation techniques are something that professional carers use to cope with difficult conversations.

These are a couple of examples;

“If a lady in our care is looking for her husband, who died several years ago, we don’t tell her that he is dead. That would just reignite the grieving process. Instead, we ask her to tell us about her husband. We ask “what was his name?”, “how did you meet?”, “did you have any children?”, “where did you get married?” It can help to distract from the anxiety of feeling alone, it can help to bring back memories and it can evoke moments of lucidity.”
Denise Findley, Home Manager of Hadrian Park in Billingham

“If your loved one wants to go home and that is not possible, ask them questions about their home - “how many bedrooms did your house have?”, “did you have a garden?”, “who were your neighbours?” They will be able to answer these questions and, in doing so, will bring back some very happy memories. Compare this to “Don’t be silly – this is your home now. You have to stay here.” One causes anger and upset, the other peace and calm.”
Katherine Foley, Home Manager of Tall Trees in Colchester

Find out more about support organisations you can talk to about your situation and get practical advice.

Latest news

In full bloom – Suffolk care homes compete in regional flower festival

In full bloom – Suffolk care homes compete in regional flower festival

June 14 2019

Suffolk care home residents put their green-fingers to the test when they took part in a flower festival inspired by the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and created unique flower displays to ‘wow’ a panel of judges.

Read more >

Care UK’s national fundraiser focuses the organisation on health, fitness and wellbeing

Care UK’s national fundraiser focuses the organisation on health, fitness and wellbeing

June 12 2019

Hundreds of Care UK’s care home team members, residents and their relatives have come together in a nationwide fundraising programme based around cycling and fitness to raise over £41,000 for three national charities. 

Read more >

Sunningdale Court delivers donation to help disadvantaged families

Sunningdale Court delivers donation to help disadvantaged families

June 12 2019

Sunningdale Court has donated baby clothing and equipment to help a Beverley-based charity boost its essential supplies.

Read more >

Team behind multi-million pound Bickerton House celebrates ‘topping out’

Team behind multi-million pound Bickerton House celebrates ‘topping out’

June 6 2019

A multi-million pound Bracknell care home has marked its latest construction milestone with the help of a special guest.

Read more >

Read more news >